Most startups come from scrappy beginnings. We are still in the Wild West of internet entrepreneurship, and many companies start without much more than a dollar and a dream. Your team may have started with a handful of people or less, but as your company begins to grow and bring on new talent to complement that growth, things can quickly go awry.
Startup founders don’t always have experience leading large teams of people. As we have seen with Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has run into problems dealing with the rapid expansion of his business and his shortcomings have been evident at times. It is important that as businesses scale, startup founders also work to improve their own shortcomings and find ways to improve organizational efficiency as the number of people they employ grows.
To do this, there are are a few foundational principles that all startups should look to instill and emulate in their business. Keep these tips in mind as you expand and look to improve organizational efficiency across departments:
Let Critical Information Flow Throughout Your Company
Every day your teams will share unending amounts of information with each other. This will include company information, customer information, project information, and anything relating to what your teams are working on at any given time. While you do have to keep certain confidential data behind lock and key, the majority of your organizational data should be freely shareable and accessible among your teams.
One of the simplest ways to improve information flow throughout your company is to make sure that every employee has access to an updated org chart. This will not only serve to improve communication throughout your company but will help new hires become acquainted with your internal structure more quickly.
Using tools like Slack or Basecamp can be a great way to facilitate and encourage project-based communication as well. The more opportunities that you give your teams to get to know each other, the more closely they will work together and the better the end product will be.
Cut Back on Unnecessary and Boring Meetings
Every year, businesses waste a staggering amount of time holding meetings that ultimately aren’t doing them, or their teams, any good. Nine out of ten people daydream in meetings. 73 percent of people work on other things during meetings. While it might seem pertinent to have as many people involved in meetings and decision-making processes as possible, many meetings are nothing more than a waste of time for the majority of the people that are included in them.
That isn’t to say that meetings aren’t important. They are. You need to get your teams together to set agendas and collaborate effectively. But startups should be more choosy with the meetings that they set and the people that they invite.
A few of the ways that you can cut down on meetings or make sure that they are more relevant to everyone attending include:
- Combine meetings with similar groups. There is no reason to hold three different meetings during the week with the same group of people. Instead, bundle all of the topics that you would like to discuss in a single meeting. Not only will a single meeting take less time, but you’re much more likely to hold the interest of all attendees during a single meeting rather than three.
- Provide basic bullet points. If there are certain topics and points that you want people to take out of the meeting, provide them for them. Yes, they should still be taking their own notes. But having a small handout to give after a meeting can be a great way to ensure that your teams know the most important points that you want them to focus on after the meeting ends.
- Ask for feedback. If you think you might be having too many meetings or inviting people to meetings that aren’t relevant to them — ask them. There is no better way to figure this out than to speak with the people it affects directly.
Meetings are a critical part of every business day for most people. But holding meetings doesn’t do you any good if the attendees aren’t engaged with the topics being discussed. Look for ways to improve your meeting policies and find ways to shorten and reduce meetings to increase their impact.
Encourage Communication Through Tools and Resources
How well do your employees really know each other? Would you say that they get along well? The best way to make sure your teams get along well and collaborate effectively is to ensure that they communicate with each other.
Communication is critical to success. According to a McKinsey Global Institute study, productivity improves by up to 25 percent in organizations that have well-connected employees. But it isn’t all up to them. It’s on the organization to facilitate communication and ensure that employees have the tools that they need to collaborate.
Organimi’s org chart software can be a great way to ensure that all employees have the contact information of everyone within the company. Requiring that your teams use tools like Slack to keep an open discussion open can also facilitate communication internally.
Find out how your teams would prefer to communicate and give them what they want. Trying to force communication tools on your team won’t result in better communication if they aren’t inclined to use it, but you do have to invest in something to facilitate a more productive atmosphere among your teams.
Implement SMART Goals
Individual, team, and organizational goals are all a part of a healthy and productive work atmosphere. To get to where you want to go, you have to define where you are going. We recommend following the SMART Goals System and using that as a basis for all goal-setting within your company.
SMART goals allow you to set goals that are beneficial and focused. The acronym stands for:
These five considerations should form the basis for all goals that you set within your organization. Work closely with individuals and teams to set goals that will give them a discernible finish line, while increasing their confidence as they complete them.
Organizational Efficiency Requires Teamwork
Setting out to improve organizational efficiency is an ideal goal for any startup. But to do so, you have to work closely with your teams to identify where the problems lie within your organization. The tips in this article should give you a good starting point for identifying inefficiencies and brainstorming ways to improve in key areas.